Periodontal Disease and Diabetes: Managing Oral Health

If you're living with diabetes, you know it's a daily management of blood sugar levels and staying vigilant about your overall health. But did you know that diabetes and oral health are intimately connected? Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common but serious condition that affects the tissues supporting your teeth.

The Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Complications in oral health can signal and even contribute to systemic conditions, including diabetes. When your body's blood sugar levels are imbalanced, it can lead to a decreased ability to fight off bacteria. This can result in a higher susceptibility to infections, making it easier for periodontal disease to take hold.

Additionally, periodontal disease can exacerbate diabetes by making blood glucose harder to control. This happens because the infection causes the body to release stress hormones that increase blood sugar levels. As a result, a person with poor oral health and periodontal disease may find it more challenging to manage their diabetes.


The Impact of Periodontal Disease on Diabetes Management

Periodontal disease does more than just affect your oral health—it can also make diabetes more difficult to control. The inflammation caused by periodontal disease increases insulin resistance and impairs glucose metabolism, leading to higher blood sugar levels. This creates a challenging loop: poor blood sugar control can lead to periodontal disease, and periodontal disease can lead to poorer blood sugar control.

In addition, periodontal disease has been linked to other diabetes-related complications such as heart disease and stroke. The inflammation from periodontal disease can affect not just your mouth but your entire vascular system. By managing periodontal disease effectively, you could potentially lower your risk for these other serious conditions.

Tips for Managing Periodontal Disease When You Have Diabetes

Managing periodontal disease when you have diabetes involves a two-pronged approach: taking care of your oral health and controlling your blood sugar levels. Here are some tips to help you on both fronts:

1.     Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque. Using an antiseptic mouthwash can also help reduce bacteria that cause gum disease.

2.     Control Blood Sugar: Work with your healthcare team to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. This can help reduce the risk of periodontal disease and other dental issues.

3.     Regular Dental Checkups: Visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups. Inform your dentist that you have diabetes, as this can affect your treatment plan.

4.     Quit Smoking: Smoking is a risk factor for periodontal disease and can make it more difficult to control your diabetes.

5.     Eat Healthily: A balanced diet can help control blood sugar levels and provide the nutrients needed for good oral health.

By implementing these tips, you can take a proactive stance in managing periodontal disease, potentially reducing its impact on your diabetes and overall well-being.


The Role of Professional Dental Care

Professional dental care is paramount in the fight against periodontal disease, especially for those living with diabetes. A dentist or periodontist can provide specialized care tailored to your needs. This includes regular cleanings that remove tartar and plaque build-up, which are not accessible through regular brushing and flossing.

In addition to routine care, professional dental interventions may include deep cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing. These procedures go below the gumline to clean out bacteria from the roots of your teeth.



As you navigate the challenges of diabetes management, it's essential not to overlook the health of your teeth and gums. By understanding the risks and taking proactive steps towards maintaining good oral hygiene, you can protect yourself against periodontal disease and its complications.

If you have diabetes and are concerned about periodontal disease, or if you're looking for ways to improve your oral hygiene routine, visit Perio Atlanta at our office in Atlanta, Georgia. Call (404) 352-3123 to request an appointment today.

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